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Explain the factors which attracted European imperialism to Africa in the late nineteenth century.

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Introduction

´╗┐Explain the factors which attracted European imperialism to Africa OR to Asia in the late nineteenth century. From roughly 1870 to the advent of the First World War, European countries expanded their existing colonial powers in Africa. This was the New Imperialism, or Scramble for Africa, which is used to describe the frenzied division of African territory among European countries that resulted in nearly all of Africa becoming part of those countries? colonial empires. It followed on the idea of imperialism that one nation should take over other areas as colonies. There were many attractive factors to pursue imperialism, and there is much debate over which elements were most important to the European powers. I believe the most important factor in imperialism was the search for new markets and raw materials. The New Imperialism was a direct consequence of the Industrial Revolution that started in Britain in the 1780?s and spread across Europe and the Americas. ...read more.

Middle

Upon Germany?s entry into the colonial arena in 1884, Chancellor Caprivi commented that many Germans believed that ?once we came into possession of colonies? we would become a great people?. Therefore it was generally felt that national pride depended on the success of their government?s exploits overseas. There is a third view for the factors of European imperialism. According to this perspective, European peoples believed they were the most advanced and civilized in the world, and had a duty to civilize natives of colonized lands. Britain's colonial empire was motivated at least in part by the idea that it was the ?white man's burden? to civilize ?backward? peoples. Charles Darwin?s scientific researches into the evolution of life were popularised, and ultimately distorted, to demonstrate that the laws of evolution applied to races and to nations, as well as plants and animals. This was never Darwin?s intention, for he had never made any reference to the races of mankind in his research. ...read more.

Conclusion

It therefore opened up the possibility of global trade and European expansion, and should rightly be factored as a factor of European imperialism. Philosophers such as Karl Marx stressed that the only real motive in the New Imperialism was driven by capitalist greed for raw materials, and markets for investment opportunities. The Marxists dismiss other reasons, be they humanitarian, prestige, national security, religious or political as mere excuses for the real motive which was economic exploitation of Africa. In conclusion, there were indeed many factors that attracted European imperialism to Africa. However, I tend to agree with the Marxist view that the New Imperialism was driven largely by the economic promise of wealth attainable by the exploitation of colonial markets, and that other reasons were but incidental to colonization. Had there been no such economic incentive, I believe that the New Imperialism would not have occurred, that Africa would have been left to its own devices, and that daring explorers such as Livingstone would have been the sole link between Europe and Africa. ...read more.

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